Featured Author: Flemming Lord – A World Unimagined

Flemming Lord

Left Hand Publisher Featured Author: Flemming LordFeatured Author: Flemming Lord was born in West Africa to English and Danish parents. He grew up in the UK, then lived and worked in Japan for 20 years. He has a degree in astrophysics, and despite that handicap has worked as an English teacher, human resources manager and e-learning designer. His influences include Philip K Dick, Michael Moorcock, William Gibson, Stanislaw Lem, Umberto Eco, Hunter S Thompson, Kazuo Ishiguro and Haruki Murakami. He is interested in cosmology, ontology, artificial intelligence, paradoxes, synthesizers and guitars. His writing is driven by the two complimentary questions, “What is the nature of reality?” and “What is the nature of consciousness?” He supports environmental causes, guided by the principle that without a habitable environment most other causes are secondary. He thinks he can play several instruments and enjoys writing and recording music. He currently lives in Shropshire, UK.

Featured Author: Flemming Lord Interview

LHP: How long have you been writing?

Flemming Lord: I have been writing on and off all my life, but have only taken it seriously with a concrete ambition to be published within the past year.
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LHP: What genre do you prefer to write in?

Flemming Lord: I like to work with speculative and philosophical ideas, so my preferred genre is science fiction and broader speculative fiction.
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LHP: What/who inspired you to be a writer?

A World Unimagined, a sci-fi anthology by Left Hand Publishers
A World Unimagined, a sci-fi anthology by Left Hand Publishers

Flemming Lord: I grew up reading science fiction, and was always drawn to the work of Philip K. Dick, for reasons that I did not fully come to understand until much later. Stylistically and structurally, Stanislaw Lem and Umberto Eco are major influences, and the strange artistry of Michael Moorcock and Mervyn Peake made an indelible impression on me that I hope comes though in a small way in my writing.
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LHP: Describe your writing process. What comes first–character or plot? Do you “pants” it or outline?

Flemming Lord: My writing generally starts with an odd question, such as “If we created an artificial superintelligence, would it even be interested in us?” and then I devise a plot that serves that question, hopefully in a way that will be emotionally relatable to the reader, and populate it with characters that create some narrative and dramatic tension. That framework usually leads me to explore the question in ways that I had not anticipated, which in turn can lead me to adjust the plot and the characters.
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LHP: What is your daily/weekly routine as a writer?

Flemming Lord: It’s not very disciplined. I usually have two or three story ideas mulling around, and when one of them seems substantial enough to tackle, and I have the time, I start writing. It the stars are aligned, then the first draft of the story comes pretty quickly after that.

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LHP: Are there any software tools, resources, or websites you use often while writing?

Flemming Lord: A lot of my story ideas get into technical scientific concepts, so I often find myself researching particular topics on the internet. I look things up on Wikipedia a lot, as a good jumping off point for an unfamiliar topic, and I watch science and philosophy lectures on YouTube to hear ideas presented and communicated in different ways. While writing, I make a lot of use of online thesauruses to help me think about and find the precise way in which I want to describe or express something.
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LHP: What are some of your biggest challenges you feel like you have to overcome in your writing career?

A World Unimagined, a sci-fi anthology by Left Hand Publishers
A World Unimagined, a sci-fi anthology by Left Hand Publishers

Flemming Lord: At the moment I find writing dialogue the hardest, since it is the thing that I am the least practised at. In the past, the biggest challenge was being my own harshest critic, and always thinking that my work had not come close to reaching the standard that I was aiming for, and therefore had no merit. As a result I’ve had a lot of good ideas over the years that I sat on only to see someone else have the same or a similar idea and turn it into a book or a screenplay, and that observation has motivated me to just get on with the writing and not worry about perfection so much. Sometimes being the first is more important than being the best, when it comes to writing.

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LHP: Do you have a set number of words per day you target? or do you set other goals to meet?

Flemming Lord: My writing goals are set on a year by year basis. This year, for example, it’s to write enough short stories to fill a collection, and next year it will be to complete a full novel.

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LHP: Do you prefer short stories or full length novels in your writing?

Flemming Lord: I prefer short stories. I like the immediacy of being able to capture an idea, like an insect in amber, and then moving on to the next idea. Maintaining the kind of focus than my style tends to require for the duration of a novel is exhausting, and when I start with an idea I often have no idea where it will take me, and that kind of story evolution is more manageable with a short story than a full length novel.
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LHP: How much time is spent on “the business of writing” – queries, seeking an agent or publisher, marketing/sales?

Flemming Lord: Not much, to be honest, at least compared to the time spent doing the actual writing. My writing goals are near term, and my publishing goals are long term, so my focus right now is much more on writing the kinds of stories that I want to write, and the business of getting them published is a secondary concern.
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LHP: Can you give some us some insight into your story?

Flemming Lord: Without giving away too much, it’s an attempt at a fractal story, which means that everything in it is repeated on ever larger scales, from the human scale to the scale of the entire universe, both in space and in time. Beyond that, it was written specifically for the title of the anthology – “A World Unimagined”. I asked myself the question, “What if the universe was both imagined and not imagined, simultaneously?” and then thought about how that could come to be from a scientific point of view. On top of that, I could not resist the opportunity to try to describe the evolution of the entire universe from the universe’s point of view. The story isn’t really meant to be understood completely, but there are a lot of fun connections to be found if the reader wants to.

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LHP: What advice can you give other writers?

Flemming Lord: Everyone knows that the best advice is to simply write as much as you can, as often as you can, about whatever you can, so on top of that, the one personal piece of advice that I would offer is to try to put together themes, styles and elements that no one has combined before. It won’t always work, but when it does you will have created something completely original, and surely that is the point.
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A World Unimagined

Flemming Lord recently authored “Zeroth Iteration” for A World Unimagined on sale now.